Approve the Cookies
This website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies and our Privacy Policy.
OK
Index  •   • New posts  •   • RTAT  •   • 'Best of'  •   • Gallery  •   • Gear  •   • Reviews
Guest
New posts  •   • RTAT  •   • 'Best of'  •   • Gallery  •   • Gear  •   • Reviews
Register to forums    Log in

 
FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 20 Mar 2007 (Tuesday) 22:28
Search threadPrev/next
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as a registered member)

Advice for Gymnastics Photogs

 
bwolford
Goldmember
Avatar
3,705 posts
Likes: 5
Joined Aug 2006
Location: Tampa, Florida
     
Mar 20, 2007 22:28 |  #1

OK all you dads, moms, or relatives taking gymnastics pictures of your next Olympian, it's time we got together and started sharing some tips with each other.

Ideas:

  • Best position for each event - What kind of pictures do you like to see on vault, bars, beam, and floor?
  • Lenses used
  • Camera settings
  • blah blah blah
Step up and share. It's time we unite and figure this darn thing out.

I'll start.

  1. Don't forget to check your ISO setting. Take a few sample shots at the fastest possible ISO, shutter speed and widest apeture for the venue to get the most DOF.
  2. Pre-focus on where the action is GOING to be. It's not easy and takes practice.
Continue...

Brice

Brice
Gear List
Sample Gallery (external link)http://thewolfords.com​/2007XmasProofs (external link)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as a registered member)
rcavanaughjr
Member
Avatar
125 posts
Joined Feb 2007
Location: Tifton, GA
     
Mar 20, 2007 22:55 |  #2

Boy am I going to watch this thread.

I should be in the running for the most inexperienced photog in the sports forum, but I do have the following tips that have helped me.....

READ ALL AVAILABLE FORUMS IN POTN!!!!!!!!!

Seriously though....

**I have found the more you know the routine the better off you are. Watch them in warm ups, so you do not have to anticipate movement.

**FACES, FACES, FACES The more you can get, the better your pictures will be.

**I know that action shots are cool, but those posed shots that you get when they are in transition are killer.

**I find that when taking burst shots in a poorly lighted gym (is there a good lighted gym?) the lighting changes due to the overhead light “pulsing”. (maybe just me)

Just my 2 cents. I will sit back and hope that I can continue to get great ideas from all the guys and gals on this forum. As fate would have it, I may be getting ready to step out and become the “official” meet photographer for our local gym. Boy am I crazy or what????


  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
rcavanaughjr
Member
Avatar
125 posts
Joined Feb 2007
Location: Tifton, GA
     
Mar 20, 2007 22:58 as a reply to  @ rcavanaughjr's post |  #3

Forgot to mention...
I use a Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 wide open
Cranked up to 1600 on 300d and 1/250 - 1/500 ss if lucky.

And Neat Image and Photoshop CS2 are just as important as my camera.


  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
fugfuggy
Member
246 posts
Joined Oct 2006
     
Mar 21, 2007 13:16 as a reply to  @ rcavanaughjr's post |  #4

I will chime in with my own experience. First, setting the WB correctly is virtually impossible due to the cycle lighting. Inevitibly, there will be pretty severe color cast on most images while some are perfect, again due to cycling. That being said, shoot in RAW and solve that problem easily in post. Most raw converters have that ability as a standard feature.

Second, make sure that you have a lense that will let in enough light e.g. f 1.8. 4,2. and shoot wide open. I have seen some good results with f 2.8 but I would be willing to bet that there are not as many keepers.

Next, shoot in shutter priority. The first thing I do is set the speed to 1/250 (minimum!) and check the exposure. Obviously too dark. Now bump the iso to 400, still too dark, now to 800, some gyms allow you to stop right there. If it is still too dark go to 1600. I have only had to brave 3200 one time. In a lot of gyms you can get up to 1/500 at 1600.

Now for metering, I always use spot metering and some may suggest matrix.

Now for focusing, I use spot focus, AF-C for floor and AF-S for all other events.

Now for technique. I know a lot of people love the spray and pray approach using burst mode. I personally do not do it that often unless I am trying to capture the sequence of a skill e.g. back handspring, dismounts, etc. I think knowing the routine is very important to you can plan your shots and think about where you should be to get them.

Beam, I think, is the easiest event to shoot that yields the best results. There are many artistic dance moves that can be had. For the skills like a split leap if you focus on catching the girl at the top of a jump you get dramatic images. Here is an example:

IMAGE: http://images22.fotki.com/v723/photos/1/1034366/4693689/Pictures106-vi.jpg
(out of focus, I know)

IMAGE: http://images21.fotki.com/v517/photos/1/1034366/4693689/Pictures415-vi.jpg

Vault. I find that the best images can be had standing off to the side of the vault track and pre focusing on the vault table. Most vaults require some sort of blocking off of the table so you can get an action shot with good facial expressions. I find that standing behind the vault table and trying to get pics that way is hard do to the lense. I use an 85mm 1.8 and I can never get in the right position to fill the frame. Here are a couple of examples:

IMAGE: http://images22.fotki.com/v724/photos/1/1034366/4693689/Pictures006-vi.jpg


Floor, to me, is the hardest to shoot. Hard to get a good backround and usually a lot of obstructions from Judges table, other team, etc.. I really do not spend a lot of time trying to get action shots from tumbling passes. I try to capture interesting compositions like this one.

IMAGE: http://images21.fotki.com/v632/photos/1/1034366/4693689/Pictures672-vi.jpg

Candids are what I call the safe shots. There are many to be had. The focus on the gymnast face while she is staring at the judges waiting for the green flag. Coaches interaction with the girls. The interaction between the team. Etc.. This photo tells a story that could only be understood by our gym. One of our girls had a neck injury but was competing though the pain, with the help of her BFF.

IMAGE: http://images21.fotki.com/v578/photos/1/1034366/4693689/Pictures773-vi.jpg

Well, there is my 2 cents. I look forward to hearing, and seeing, from others. I am sure GYMDAD will wiegh in on this thread with some good wisdom.



  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
gymdad
Member
225 posts
Likes: 1
Joined Jan 2007
     
Mar 21, 2007 16:45 as a reply to  @ fugfuggy's post |  #5

Great thread, Brice. I, too, am trying to get the hang of gymnastics photography and need all the advice I can get!

There's been some great info given, so far, so I'll just add my very humble opinions.
(disclaimer: I'm just a dad with a camera, and am still learning!)

Lenses: f/2.8 is the bare minimum, and actually isn't fast enough for most gyms. I love my 70-200/2.8 and use it when I can, but I also use a 135/2 and an 85/1.8. The 85/1.8 does a great job, but there's a huge drawback. Unless you have floor access (I don't) it frequently just doesn't give you enough reach. For instance, in our own gym I can use the 85 for vault and the occasional floor shot, but the other 2 events are just too far away for its focal length.

White Balance: Cycling lights are always a killer. I do, however, like to set a custom white balance. I use an expodisc and take the WB shot in AV mode at f/11. f/11 forces a ridiculously slow shutter speed, which in turn captures a full cycle of the lights. It's not the perfect solution, but it at least gets the WB closer in the original shot. I do shoot in RAW format (although I'm not sure why, 'cause I don't know what I'm doing in Photoshop)

Metering: I try to get my readings by spot metering the gymnasts' faces. I have a lot of trouble with beam and bar shots--shooting at an upward angle & underexposing faces in the process. I think the spot metering is helping some, but I've got a long ways to go.

Mode: I really like manual mode. It means I need to constantly remember to re-check exposure throughout the meet, but I've gotten much better results than I did with anything else (especially with the bar and beam shot problems I was just describing).

Angles/Position: Any angle which a) shows the gymnast's face and, b) does as much as possible to minimize background clutter. As another poster already mentioned, you must see faces. If the gymnast is moving away from you, the greatest capture in the world still isn't going to sell as well as a shots which shows her face. Background clutter is a huge problem for all of us, and sometimes there's just nothing we can do. I try to get lower and shoot at a slight upward angle, or sometimes move slightly to the right or left to try to catch a better background (and, although I don't like downward looking shots, there are times when I've actually had to go that route just to reduce the clutter--shooting from a balcony or a higher vantage point). And....the upside of shooting with lenses wide open is the blurring/out-of-focus effect they add to the background. Anyway, it's a constant struggle (as many shots in my gallery show!)

Burst vs Single Shot: I've gotten way more keepers by using single shot mode rather than by firing bursts. I've occasionally gotten lucky with some tumbling passes or midair stuff captured in burst mode, but most of my decent photos were taken in single shot mode. If you see a routine more than once (especially true with levels 4-5-6:)) you can figure out where the best possibilities are--great poses, etc, with "capturable" amounts of movement.

Wow......I'm sorry , guys--I didn't mean to go on so long. Hope it's OK--again, these are just my humble opinions. I've got so much to learn--I'm with Brice: let's hear from everyone.

I haven't figured out the image attachment thing, so here's a link to my gym shots (the good, the bad, the ugly):

http://flickr.com/phot​os/gymcritters/ (external link)

Roland


http://flickr.com/phot​os/gymcritters/ (external link)
Canon gear

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
fugfuggy
Member
246 posts
Joined Oct 2006
     
Mar 21, 2007 20:34 |  #6

Knew it would not take you long to chyme in gymdad :P




  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
rcavanaughjr
Member
Avatar
125 posts
Joined Feb 2007
Location: Tifton, GA
     
Mar 21, 2007 20:36 as a reply to  @ gymdad's post |  #7

Great posts fug and gymdad.

I sure hope we can get some others to chime in.

Both of you mentioned you shoot in RAW. I have not ventured into that yet. I am a true computuer nerd, so I think that I could get the hang of conversions. Is it that big of a task? I also noticed that you had varying opinions on custom WB. I just get lost when I hear folks talking about using that feature.

Also, both of you mentioned the 85/1.8. I mentioned earlier that I might start being an official meet photog, which of course gets me much closer access to the gymnasts. Is the investment in the 1.8 worth it? I have been considering it for a while.

Last question, I noticed gymdad is using a 1d camera. How about fugfuggy and bwolword? As mentioned, I am using a 300D. I am considering purchasing a 20d. What is your opinion on this upgrade?

Thanks guys...I have been waiting for a forum topic that hits this close to home.

For what it is worth, here are a few pictures that I have taken. Please don't laugh, I am like gymdad said earlier, "just a dad with a camera".

http://rcavanaugh.smug​mug.com/gallery/260366​2/1/137323947 (external link)

BTW, (bragging dad coming out) my daugthters are #4 and #7.


  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
fugfuggy
Member
246 posts
Joined Oct 2006
     
Mar 21, 2007 20:46 |  #8

IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
HTTP response: NOT FOUND | MIME changed to 'image/gif' | Redirected to error image by FLICKR


This is a GREAT shot. I am still envious of your gym!



  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
gymdad
Member
225 posts
Likes: 1
Joined Jan 2007
     
Mar 21, 2007 21:05 |  #9

rcavanaughjr,

Those are some really nice shots! (really like #1) (and #4 and 7, of course!)

The 85/1.8 really is a nice lens. It focuses FAST and is pretty reasonably priced. I'd sure recommend it, especially if you have floor access. (it's a great BB lens, too).

Fugfuggy, you know me too well already.......I can't stay away from a gymnastics thread:)


http://flickr.com/phot​os/gymcritters/ (external link)
Canon gear

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
fugfuggy
Member
246 posts
Joined Oct 2006
     
Mar 22, 2007 14:59 as a reply to  @ rcavanaughjr's post |  #10

Both of you mentioned you shoot in RAW. I have not ventured into that yet. I am a true computuer nerd, so I think that I could get the hang of conversions. Is it that big of a task? I also noticed that you had varying opinions on custom WB. I just get lost when I hear folks talking about using that feature.

>>the main reason that I shoot in raw is because I can do no-destructive editing and versioning in post. Also, white balance is a pain to fix in PS but the custom settings from the camera come with the raw file so it is just a matter of picking the one that works the best. Most of the time I will shoot a preset WB as the first choice but there is no getting around color casting under cycle lighting.


Also, both of you mentioned the 85/1.8. I mentioned earlier that I might start being an official meet photog, which of course gets me much closer access to the gymnasts. Is the investment in the 1.8 worth it? I have been considering it for a while.

>> Absolutely. If you have floor access I would look at the 50mm f 1.8 as well.

Last question, I noticed gymdad is using a 1d camera. How about fugfuggy and bwolword? As mentioned, I am using a 300D. I am considering purchasing a 20d. What is your opinion on this upgrade?

>> I do not live in the world of cannon, rather I shoot with a Nikon D50


BTW, (bragging dad coming out) my daugthters are #4 and #7.[/QUOTE]

I have to admit, I get so proud of my little monkey when she competes that I cannot help but shed a tear. Talk about making pictures tough to take! Am I the only one that gets emotional?




  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
bwolford
THREAD ­ STARTER
Goldmember
Avatar
3,705 posts
Likes: 5
Joined Aug 2006
Location: Tampa, Florida
     
Mar 22, 2007 20:08 as a reply to  @ fugfuggy's post |  #11

This is really nice. Glad to see all the gym dads coming in and sharing their photography experience. My line up in the gym is, in order and depending on where I can set myself up, 50 F1.8, 100 F2, 70-200 F2.8 IS USM L. All mounted on a lowly 300D.

I definitely need something that can shoot quality images at higher ISO. 1600 really is unacceptable and using Neat Image clears the noise, but softens the images...

I would not get a 20D, but I would think the 30D is the better choice. Of course, many opinions exist on here. Don't want to get into that game. I'd really like to buy a Mark IIN if the prices come down with the announcement of the Mark III. A 5D just doesn't have the FPS that we need for this sport.

Cavanaugh had it right about faces, faces, faces. If you can get action and faces you have a winning photo. The lights cycle at 60hZ I believe and that's the reason for the changing WB. If you can shoot a multiple of 60, I'm told it won't be as bad, but your mileage may vary.

I take a piece of white paper into the venue and set custom WB even if I am shooting raw.

Fugfuggy, those are really nice images. I'm off to check out gymdads pics later. He had some excellent advice and probably consolidate the best of the bunch so far.

I think we'll all benefit by seeing each other's good, bad, and ugly photos to learn placement (yours in relation to the gymnast), timing, and event specific techniques. Copy then experiment, that's my mantra.

Fugfuggy are you saying your daughter is #4 and #7 in Cavanaugh's gallery?

Brice

P.S. We're off to Florida State Championships this weekend. My gal's doing level 9 on Sunday. She's won all by 1 meet this year (I say puffing my chest) so we're really hoping she pulls this off. Her gym mates are very competitive (that's who beat her 2 weeks ago). May have to pull a Tonya Harding. :) That is a JOKE. I'd never harm anyone...


Brice
Gear List
Sample Gallery (external link)http://thewolfords.com​/2007XmasProofs (external link)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
stefeb
Goldmember
Avatar
1,041 posts
Joined Jan 2007
Location: NE Pennsylvania
     
Mar 22, 2007 20:18 |  #12

I'm a grandpop of the next olympic gold medalist ;).

At my granddaughter's gym only the "official" photographers (the ones that sell the pictures) have floor access, so the rest of us are relegated to the bleachers. I just purchased the 85, 1.8, so don't have any real experience with it in the gym, but I imagine reach will be a problem for some events.


Steve -
Gear List
My Photos - http://www.lehighvalle​yphotography.com (external link)
http://psc.photoshelte​r.com/user/stevefebbra​ro (external link)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
bwolford
THREAD ­ STARTER
Goldmember
Avatar
3,705 posts
Likes: 5
Joined Aug 2006
Location: Tampa, Florida
     
Mar 22, 2007 20:18 as a reply to  @ bwolford's post |  #13

OK I checked out Cavanaugh and Gymdad's pics and these are great shots. Gymdad I think I have a lot to learn from you. Your angles are much better than I usually get. Love what you are getting with that 1D.

BTW, I don't find adjusting RAW images hard at all. Don't let the interface intimidate you. Keep it simple. Play with the light temperature and you'll figure out WB Correction PDQ. I usually press auto and the play with exposure and brightness the most.

Has anyone noticed a change in the CS2 RAW interface? I applied an update recently (well maybe over a month ago) and I noticed major changes to the interface. I preferred the old view... Does anyone know if there's a way to swtich RAW interfaces?

Some recent pics... Not my best work 2007 Daytona Meet (external link)

Brice

P.S. I seem to be in last minute edit mode tonight. I also learned a technique for adjusting levels and curves that's pretty cut and dry. Be happy to share it. I actually got it out of a Scott Kelby book (s) so it might be better to just refer to those books and the pages. Don't want to plagarize.


Brice
Gear List
Sample Gallery (external link)http://thewolfords.com​/2007XmasProofs (external link)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
fugfuggy
Member
246 posts
Joined Oct 2006
     
Mar 22, 2007 21:35 |  #14

bwolford,

Please do not take this the wrong way, just a bit of C&C. I looked at your gallery and it looks like a spray and pray group of pics. I think a bit more thinking about the composition of the photo would do you well. Those straight on shots rarely make for a good photo. IMHO, if you stood off to the side of the beam a bit, maybe 45 degrees, you would get some much better shots.

Another thing, I realize that position is limited. If you have a good lens like the 85 f1.8 then you can worry about composition during post. You need to crop tighter if you cannot get closer. I know, I know, when you crop tight you get noise. Well, if you intend to print then noise is not that much of an issue. There are plenty of tools out there to reduce the noise.

As far as gymdads pics, the composition is good so yes you could learn some things from him. However, that luck sob has the privilledge that most of us do not, good lighting in the home gym that gives him ample shutter speed. Can you sense the envy!

Keep shooting and keep posting and let's all get better together!




  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
bwolford
THREAD ­ STARTER
Goldmember
Avatar
3,705 posts
Likes: 5
Joined Aug 2006
Location: Tampa, Florida
     
Mar 24, 2007 07:49 as a reply to  @ fugfuggy's post |  #15

Fugduggy,

How dare you!!!

Just kidding. Sometimes I'm so focused on quantity and DON'T focus enough on composition... You are dead on wit that. I'll focus on that this weekend at the State meet. I AM not sure what you mean by spray and pray... Perhaps that impression is created by the volume of pics I posted instead of focusing only on the "keepers." I was posting more images so other parents had pics of their girls. No excuse, it doesn't explain the composition issue. I rarely get floor access so my position is limited. I'll definitely try to get more 45 degrees to vault and beam. Never occurred to me to get 45% toward the mount side of the vault table... Our coach likes the side pics because he can see some of the technical faults. Parents prefer the tiny little high speed face twirling and spinning. I need to remember my audience.

I absolutely, 100% appreciate your C&C. Thank you.

Brice


Brice
Gear List
Sample Gallery (external link)http://thewolfords.com​/2007XmasProofs (external link)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as a registered member)

64,169 views & 0 likes for this thread
Advice for Gymnastics Photogs
FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
AAA
x 1600
y 1600

Jump to forum...   •  Rules   •  Index   •  New posts   •  RTAT   •  'Best of'   •  Gallery   •  Gear   •  Reviews   •  Member list   •  Polls   •  Image rules   •  Search   •  Password reset

Not a member yet?
Register to forums
Registered members may log in to forums and access all the features: full search, image upload, follow forums, own gear list and ratings, likes, more forums, private messaging, thread follow, notifications, own gallery, all settings, view hosted photos, own reviews, see more and do more... and all is free. Don't be a stranger - register now and start posting!


COOKIES DISCLAIMER: This website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies and to our privacy policy.
Privacy policy and cookie usage info.


POWERED BY AMASS forum software 2.1forum software
version 2.1 /
code and design
by Pekka Saarinen ©
for photography-on-the.net

Latest registered member is rml24
695 guests, 179 members online
Simultaneous users record so far is 15144, that happened on Nov 22, 2018

Photography-on-the.net Digital Photography Forums is the website for photographers and all who love great photos, camera and post processing techniques, gear talk, discussion and sharing. Professionals, hobbyists, newbies and those who don't even own a camera -- all are welcome regardless of skill, favourite brand, gear, gender or age. Registering and usage is free.